The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed liberal Democrat Sheila Kuehl to replace conservative Republican Michael D. Antonovich on Southern California’s air quality board Tuesday, ending GOP control over the panel and potentially shifting it back toward stricter regulation of polluters.
Kuehl’s appointment comes 10 months after Republicans gained a seven-member majority on the 13-member South Coast Air Quality Management District board in a push to make it more industry-friendly. Under Republican control, the board fired longtime executive Barry Wallerstein, upheld oil industry-backed rules on smog-forming pollution and took other steps aimed at easing burdens on businesses.
In an interview Tuesday, Kuehl described her approach as “strongly regulatory” and said “we need to pay attention to any form of pollution that can be regulated.”
The air quality board consists of elected officials and other appointees from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and is responsible for protecting the health of 17 million people across the region.